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Five Best: Chic Hostels
Europe Famouse Hostels
A little bit of luxury for backpackers on a budget.
Room describes itself as Europe's first "theme hostel", but it's classier than that. Situated in the city's old shipping quarter, in an Art Deco building, its decor is stylish. There's the opulent eight-bed Royal room, the colourful six-bed Festival, the folksy five-bed Dutch Delight, and the Love room, just for two. And there's a groovy bar and lounge, with TV, games and internet access.
East Seven, Berlin
Opened just over a year ago, this central Berlin hostel is great value for money. The mix of private rooms (with shared showers) and dorms feature "good Ikea" styling and, unusually for some hostels, there's plenty of daylight in all the rooms. Thoughtful extras stretch to supplying baby beds for children. Then there's the fresh coffee, bike rental, internet facilities and access to a large self-catering kitchen and lounge off the garden.
Purple Nest Hostel, Valencia
Having already set up one successful designer bunkhouse (Red Hostel) in Valencia, Nest has now opened its second outpost in the city. Like its sister property, it is set in a characterful old building but the grandiose architecture has been reworked to provide some very modern decor and facilities. The latter includes internet access and a DVD library. If that's not enough to keep you entertained, the Purple Nest also has a bar, which sometimes hosts live bands.
Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh
New-generation hostels don't get much snazzier than the new Edinburgh Central, a former office block turned 302-bed bolthole, 10 minutes' walk from Waverley Station. Owned by the Scottish Youth Hostels Association but looking more like one of the new Express by Holiday Inns, the recent £10m refurbishment of this Leith Walk property has seen it equipped with smart pine beds, clean white linen, Wi-Fi access throughout, a licensed café and a separate restaurant.
Czech Inn, Prague
This brilliantly named collaboration between the management of two long-standing city hostels opened last March. It recognises that just because its target market is under 35, that doesn't mean they want to be surrounded by Tellytubby colours. Inside an imposing 19th-century building, you'll find exposed brick, snazzy bathrooms and sleek, Scandinavian-style furniture. Not to mention a buzzing bar and café, internet access and a 24-hour reception.